LAHORE - An unbeaten 111 from 63 balls by Ahmed Shehzad helped Central Punjab to a four-wicket win over Northern in the fifth fixture of the ongoing National T20 Cup at Faisalabad’s Iqbal Stadium.

Set a target of 223, Central Punjab chased down the total on the penultimate ball of the match. Opener Ahmed played an instrumental role in the run-chase, hitting 13 fours and three sixes to guide his team to their first win of the tournament. The next best scorer in the Central Punjab’s innings was Saad Nasim, who made 29 from 20 balls with three fours and a six. Faheem Ashraf lofted two sixes and a four in his 28, which came off 16 balls.

Northern’s captain Imad Wasim was the pick of the bowlers with three for 38. That Northern had set 222 for six in 20 overs – after deciding to bat - was because of Asif Ali, who struck a blistering 93 off 35 balls with four fours and 10 sixes.

Mohammad Nawaz scored 51 off 35 balls, cracking four sixes and a four as the pair stitched a 107-run partnership for the third-wicket. Faheem took three wickets for 44 runs. Waqas Maqsood, Nasim Shah and Usman Qadir took a wicket each.

Meanwhile, Wahab Riaz’s three for 28 with the ball and an unbeaten 17-ball 42 secured a four-wicket win for Southern Punjab over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the second match of the day. Wahab took the wickets of Sahibzada Farhan (27 off 19), Adil Amin (7 off 12) and Iftikhar Ahmad (0 off 2) to leave Khyber Pakhtunkhwa reeling at 51 for four in 8.5 overs.

Shehzad strikes 111 runs off 63 balls

That Khyber Pakhtunkhwa managed a respectable score was due an 83-run stand between Mohammad Rizwan and Khushdil Shah. Rizwan scored 45 off 40 balls, hitting four fours and a six, while Khushdil cracked an unbeaten 32-ball 56, embellished with five fours and three sixes. Aamer Yamin and Mohammad Irfan picked up a wicket each as they gave 31 and 19 runs, respectively.

Southern Punjab floundered in the first half of the chase with half of their batting lineup back in the pavilion in 8.5 overs with only 51 runs on board as M hammad Mohsin took three wickets. But with his unbeaten 49 off 35 balls, which included four fours and a six, Saif Badar weathered the storm. He crafted a 55-run stand with Aamer (15 off 10).

Any doubts over the success of the run-chase vanished when Wahab joined Saif as the former took control and spanked five fours and two sixes to take Southern Punjab home with four wickets and nine balls spare. This was Southern Punjab’s first win in the tournament.

SCORES IN BRIEF:

NORTHERN: 222-6, 20 overs (Asif Ali 93, Mohammad Nawaz 51, Umar Amin 38, Imad Wasim 22; Faheem Ashraf 3-44)

CENTRAL PUNJAB: 226-6, 19.5 overs (Ahmed Shehzad 111, Saad Nasim 29, Faheem Ashraf 28, Rizwan Hussain 20; Imad Wasim 3-38, Sohail Tanvir 2-50)

KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA: 154-5, 20 overs (Khushdil Shah 56 not out, Mohammad Rizwan 45, Sahibzada Farhan 27; Wahab Riaz 3-28)

SOUTHERN PUNJAB: 155-6, 18.3 overs (Saif Badar 49 not out, Wahab Riaz 42 not out, Sohaib Maqsood 24; Mohammad Mohsin 3-37).